A huge number of people develop foot pain in their 60s. Usually they think that foot pain is a part of the aging process and accept it walking with pain. But it can start as early as the 20s and 30s as well. With simple measures like proper footwear and regular exercise can play an important role in preventing foot problems.
On an average, healthy people walk the equivalent of three times around the Earth in their lifetime. That is a matter of enormous wear and tear on the 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 tendons, ligaments and muscles that make up the foot.
Excessive weight, diabetes and circulation problems can contribute to foot pain. The most common foot conditions that occur with age are arthritic joints, thinning of the fat pads cushioning the soles, plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the fibrous tissue along the sole), bunions (enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe), poor circulation and fungal nails. The following questions will help you assess whether you should take more preventive action as you age.
Are you overweight? The force on your feet is about 120 percent of your weight. It can lead to plantar fasciitis and heel pain and can worsen hammertoes and bunions. It is also a risk factor for diabetes, leading to the next question.
Are you diabetic? Being farthest from the heart, the feet can be the first part of the body to manifest complications like poor circulation and loss of feeling, both of which can lead to poor wound healing and amputation. Diabetics should have their feet examined annually by a doctor and avoid shoes that cause abrasions and pressure.
Do you have poor circulation? If you suffer from peripheral artery disease — a narrowing of veins in the legs — your feet are more susceptible to problems. Smoking also contributes to poor circulation.
Do your parents complain about their feet? Family history is probably your biggest clue to potential problems.
Do your shoes fit? Feet flatten and lengthen with age, so if you are clinging to the shoe size you wore at age 21, get your feet measured (especially mothers — pregnancy expands feet).
Do your feet ever see the light of day? Fungus thrives in a warm, moist environment. Choose moisture-wicking socks (not cotton), use antifungal powders and air out your toes at home.
Do you walk? Putting more mileage on your feet is the best way to exercise the muscles and keep them healthy.
– Dr Md Rajib Hossain –